Friday, September 11, 2009

Pill to reverse arterial plaques?

An unwise purchase until double-blind studies have been done. Saying it is as good as a Mediterranean diet is faint praise. There are many countries with longer life expectancies than Mediterranean ones. There are heaps of nonagenarians tottering around Australia, for instance, who grew up on a diet that could hardly be more "wrong" according to current wisdom -- lots of fried steak and fried potato chips, for instance -- and fried in dripping at that -- if anybody these days knows what dripping is

British scientists have developed a groundbreaking pill which provides all the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. One capsule of Ateronon taken daily can break down fatty deposits in the arteries and help prevent heart disease and strokes, potentially saving millions of lives.

The supplement, which costs £35 for a month's supply, contains lycopene, a chemical found in the skin of ripe tomatoes.

Each pill provides the equivalent of eating three kilos of ripe tomatoes. Studies have shown eating an Italian-style diet rich in tomatoes, fish, vegetables, nuts and olive oil can significantly reduce cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Heart disease is the UK's biggest killer, responsible for 120,000 deaths a year - one of the highest rates in the world - while 70,000 die of strokes.

Ateronon was developed by Cambridge Theranostics, a biotechnology company which employs scientists from Cambridge University. By combining lycopene with whey, from milk, they shrank the molecule enough for it to be easily absorbed by humans. An initial trial in 150 heart disease patients found that taking the pill once a day could not only halt but even reverse the buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls in just two months, without side-effects.

Large-scale trials of up to 10,000 patients will begin this year at Cambridge, as well as in the U.S., Italy and Finland.


On top of the world... taller people are happier with their lives

It has long been known that taller men are advantaged in all sorts of ways. The way women discriminate against short men is of course a classic

Taller people are happier with their lives, according to a new study by U.S. academics. The research published in science journal Elsevier's Economics and Human Biology claimed people of greater height 'live better lives' on average.

Approximately 454,065 American adults aged 18 or over were interviewed between January, 2008 and April this year as part of the study. Participants were asked to give their heights, details about their emotions and reveal where they saw themselves on an imaginary 'life ladder'. According to the study, taller individuals overall evaluated their lives more positively and were more likely to report a range of favourable emotions, including enjoyment and happiness.

They were also less likely to register a range of negative feelings, including sadness and physical pain, though they were more likely to experience stress and anger, and if they were women, to worry.

Men who reported that their lives were the 'worst possible' were more than eight tenths of an inch (2cm) shorter than the average man. Women who saw themselves 'on the bottom step' were shorter than the average woman by half an inch (1.3cm).

Looking at the relationship between height and education, the study found men who did not graduate from high school were half an inch (1.27cm) shorter than average and more than an inch (2.54cm) shorter than the average college-educated man. The differences were only a little less for women.

The report's authors concluded the findings were almost wholly explained by the positive association between height and both income and education, both of which are closely linked to better lives.


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